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Saturday, March 28 • 10:30am - 12:00pm
Session 2 Paper Stream 3: Remote Experiences of Place

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Session 2 Paper Stream 3: Remote Experiences of Place 

Yolande Harris: "Listening to the Ocean in the Desert"

My paper examines how we relate to distant locations through listening. In particular, it explores the insights that can be gained by re-contextualizing sounds from the ocean within a desert environment. Building on Acoustic Ecology and environmental art practice and theory (Kahn, Dunn, Lippard, Harrison and Harrison, CLUI), I propose that expanded forms of awareness can emerge through technological media and critical listening techniques. My artistic practice and theoretical proposals on techno-intuition and sonic consciousness further claim that increasing auditory awareness of one’s environment promotes a sense of belonging, environmental stewardship, and engagement. 

Recent developments in oceanographic technology enable unprecedented access to sounds, video, and other data from the deep ocean. I am developing artistic and theoretical approaches to interpreting and communicating this information, based on current research by oceanographers at the University of Washington. My artwork Listening to the Distance (2015) is a two-part project consisting of an audio-visual installation – Eagle – and sound walk – Whale – that explore how we can experience and share distant environments through animal visions, remote presence, and underwater sound. In Eagle, I re-contextualize ocean hydrophone recordings collected from an autonomous vehicle, called a “sea glider”, as it tracks through the ocean recording its environment. In Whale, different voices of marine mammals speak from the ocean into your ear, acting as a remote guide through the desert environment. Juxtaposing these oceanic voices, both technological and animal, with the desert asks us to imagine connections to environments that are remote but nevertheless essentially connected via global climate systems and ancient imaginings. 

My work makes explicit the dependence on technological instruments to access these distant environments and it critically examines the layers of mediation and interpretation involved in both artistic and scientific investigations. However, by bringing underwater sound to individual listeners in the desert, these disparate environments are connected in a direct, embodied artistic experience that parallels their interdependence as part of global climate systems. By provoking an underlying empathy through a sense of remote presence, I argue that Listening to the Distance personalizes the extreme diversity, systemic interconnection, and planetary scale of oceans and deserts. 

Garth Paine, Sabine Feisst, Leah Barclay, and Daniel Gilfillan: "The Listen(n) Project: Embodied Experiences of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves through Acoustic Ecology and Digital Technology"
Listen(n) is an interdisciplinary collaborative project that explores remote embodied landscapes of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves through sound. The project focuses on community awareness, sustainability, environmental engagement, critical enquiry and interpretative discourse around questions of how digital technology and rich media environments can be used to create experiences of being present in remote environments. 

Specifically it engages with notions of community place-making through six UNESCO Biosphere Reserves in Arizona, New Mexico and California to promote sustainable development based on local community efforts whilst representing the richness and diversity of the southwest desert ecosystem. Through extensive sound-based fieldwork in each location, Listen(n) explores how a notion of belonging to landscape/environment can develop environmental stewardship. In our current state of ecological crisis, the Listen(n) project is designed to explore how these notions of immersive environmental engagement through virtual technologies could cultivate environmental engagement through sound. 

The Listen(n) project questions what constitutes attention in sound and through the embodied experiences actively engage participants in consideration of the question: what is listening and how central is the sonic environment to our communal, social and global health? It asks if acoustic ecology, the critical examination and creative representation of sonic environments, can focus communities on their local environment whilst simultaneously building national and international communities for stewardship and sustainability. 

At its core, the Listen(n) project explores a range of research questions about the role and function of sound and the perception of sound for a deeper understanding of questions pertaining to place, presence, belonging and sustainability. As a perceptive mode that inherently engages an intermedial relationship to the world, sound both conveys and withholds knowledge, adopting and adapting the realms of the vocal, the textual, the spatial, and the affective to be mediated for reception and parsing aurally, and by extension epistemologically, in the mind of the listener. Sound’s ability to capture and convey movement, spatiality, and emotion in very distinct ways works synergistically with the human mind’s ability to unify within consciousness a number of perceptual inputs, such that a cognitive picture of the world and one’s position within it comes to light. The immersive sonic productions, which form the foundation of Listen(n), provide a palpable framework within which such a phenomenology of human experience of the world can be experienced, shared, examined and understood. 

Grant Smith, Maria Papadomanolaki and Dawn Scarfe: "Reveil: New Experiments with Environmental Radio" 
This presentation introduces Reveil, a project of the London-based artist collective, soundCamp. It includes extracts from the first Reveil broadcast over 3-4 May 2014 and proposes contexts and reflections towards a second event in 2015.

Reveil is a 24-hour broadcast of live daybreak sounds, realized by a global network of streamers, along with sounds from webcams, hydrophone observatories and independent channels. Relayed from a soundcamp near the Greenwich Meridian, Reveil travels West from microphone to microphone in a continuous live transmission lasting one earth day.

Reveil is anticipated by the work of Maryanne Amacher, Bill Fontana, Max Neuhaus, Tetsuo Kogawa and more recent practitioners (eg at Locus Sonus), who have found ways and means to stream live audio from one location to another. 

It has antecedents in the transects imagined by ornithologist Don Kroodsma and the sound collages of field recordists Gordon Hempton and Bernie Krause, which extend and re-present the transient experience of daybreak, as well as 'capturing' fragile, endangered soundscapes.

And it resonates with calls by Murray Schafer and Bruce Davis for an 'Environmental' or 'Wilderness Radio' that would relay rural sounds to urban places, prefiguring the emerging live audio networks which Reveil taps into and extends.

At the same time, Reveil involves practical activities which focus on the experiences of camping, streaming, or listening in situations that combine the routine and the exceptional (such as camping overnight in an inner city nature reserve). Participants encounter local and remote soundscapes that are equally 'always already there' and previously unheard. Daily tasks - cooking, sleeping, fetching water - take place to a broader rhythm correlated with our physical displacement on a moving planet.

We speculate on what is at stake in these activities, with reference to key terms drawn from the sources above: displacement / emplacement; rural / urban; hi-fi / low-fi; human / natural; wild / constructed; local / remote; artist / audience. And we consider how such a practice can contribute to contesting and re-imagining the distinctions and values they imply.

Finally, we invite contributions to the next soundCamp / reveil, which coincides with International Dawn Chorus Day 2015. 


Stephan Moore

Stephan Moore is a composer, improviser, audio artist, sound designer, teacher, and curator based in Brooklyn and Providence. His creative work currently manifests as electronic studio compositions, solo and group improvisations, sound installation works, scores for collaborative... Read More →

avatar for Leah Barclay

Leah Barclay

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Griffith University
Co-Chair, Sonic Environments (www.sonicenvironments.org)
avatar for Sabine Feisst

Sabine Feisst

Professor of Music, Arizona State University
Dr Sabine Feisst is Professor of Musicology and Senior Sustainability Scholar at Arizona State University’s School of Music and Global Institute of Sustainability. Focusing on twentieth and twenty-first century music studies, she published the monographs Der Begriff ‘Improvisation... Read More →

Daniel Gilfillan

Daniel Gilfillan (Ph.D., University of Oregon, 2000) is Associate Professor of German Studies and Information Literacy at Arizona State University in the School of International Letters and Cultures, and Faculty Affiliate in Film and Media Studies and Jewish Studies. His research... Read More →

Yolande Harris

Yolande Harris is an artist engaged with sound, its image and its role in relating humans and their technologies to the environment. Her artistic projects take the form of audio-visual installations and performances, instruments, walks, performative lectures and writings. Her work... Read More →
avatar for Garth Paine

Garth Paine

Associate Professor in Digital Sound and Interactive Media, Arizona State University|Tempe|Arizona|USA
Garth is particularly fascinated with sound as an experiential medium, both in musical performance and as an exhibitable object. This passion has led to several interactive responsive environments where the inhabitant generates the sonic landscape through their presence and behav... Read More →

Maria Papadomanolaki

Maria Papadomanolaki is a Greek artist who works within the fields of sound design for dance and film, networked performances, exploratory workshops, installation and transmission art. She has a background in literary and sound studies. Since 2009, she has also been successfully releasing... Read More →

Dawn Scarfe

Dawn Scarfe is an artist whose work investigates resonance, perception and environmental atmospheres. She works across a variety of media and contexts including site-specific installation, performance and field recording. Recent exhibitions include Klinkende Stad Kortrijk, ZKM Karlsruhe... Read More →

Saturday March 28, 2015 10:30am - 12:00pm MST
Art 246 900 S. Forest Mall Tempe, AZ 85281

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